Gov. Dayton held a press briefing with reporters today and he criticized GOP legislative leaders for failing to send him a budget plan. Conference committees are currently meeting on the state’s budget but have made little to no progress on erasing the state’s $5 billion projected budget deficit. Dayton set a May 6th deadline for lawmakers to pass their budget plan – a deadline that the GOP is unlikely to meet.
“The ball’s in their court. I’m waiting, and I’ve been waiting for some time now. I’ll keep waiting until the produce conference reports and send them to me and then we can begin the negotiations.”
Dayton said he will not begin negotiating with GOP leaders until the House and Senate come up with one budget proposal. Dayton is proposing an income tax hike on Minnesota’s top earners. Republicans have argued that they can balance the budget without taxes but use one-time money, increased tax collections that may never materialize and federal approval to change Minnesota’s Medicaid system.
Dayton was talking with reporters as Sen. David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, is in Washington to meet with Minnesota’s Congressional delegation on ways to reduce Minnesota’s health care costs. Dayton questioned Hann’s trip when asked about it.
“Anyone who is going to Washington for advice on how to resolve a budget deficit is headed in the wrong direction,” Dayton said.
Dayton also said he was open to “any revenue raising opportunities” when asked about building a casino at Block E in Minneapolis. But Dayton said the state should receive at least half of any of the revenues generated from the Block E casino or the Racino proposals at the state’s two horse tracks.
Dayton also said he would be willing to sign a bill that authorizes a new Vikings stadium before the state resolves the state’s budget deficit. He emphasized, however, that the Vikings stadium and the bonding bill should not be considered end of session bargaining chips.
You can listen to Dayton’s full news conference here: